Pittsfield boys lacrosse holds off Chicopee Comp in playoff opener
PITTSFIELD -- Everything Pittsfield boys lacrosse coach Scott Aitken warned his Generals about at halftime happened in the third quarter of Sunday afternoon's Central-Western Mass. Division II preliminary-round game.
Chicopee Comp picked up its hustle. They got to ground balls. They attacked the PHS defense. They rallied from seven goals down to tie the game late.
"We have a typical third-quarter dip," Aitken said. "I didn't think it would be that bad."
The Generals, though, recovered at the right time.
Alex Teichert scored two of his seven goals in the final 5 minutes of the match, and PHS held off Comp 15-12 at Kirvin Park.
Brenden Leary scored four times, including the game's final goal, while Cam Giardina assisted on three goals. Pittsfield now faces No. 2 seed St. John's of Shrewsbury in a Wednesday first-round road game at 4 p.m.
Pittsfield's third-quarter breakdown was only so stunning because of how easily the Generals (13-5) handled Comp throughout the first two quarters. PHS never trailed, took a 5-1 lead after a quarter and had a run of four unanswered goals to end the first half with a 9-2 lead.
After Leary scored to open the second half, though, Comp controlled possession for the majority of the second half -- and made the most of it, too. Nick Hebert scored all four of his goals in the third as Comp turned an eight-goal deficit into just a two-goal deficit by the end of the quarter.
They weren't done after that, either. Griffin Imelio and Quinn Wesolowski scored fourth-quarter goals, with Wesolowski's goal tying the game at 12 with 7:52 left.
That was all Pittsfield would allow, though. Nikolai Pixley stopped every shot he saw after that, the defense stiffened and Pittsfield was able to get the ball back to its attackers. With a little less than 5 minutes remaining, Teichert scored with a two-man advantage to give PHS the lead back at 13-12, swinging momentum back in Pittsfield's direction. He'd score again at the 2:25 mark to make it a 14-12 game, putting it out of reach.
"Midfield did a great job bringing up the ball," Teichert said. "They did basically all the work. They dumped it right off to me, and I can make the goal."
Aitken echoed his top attack's sentiment.
"Nikolai made some big saves, and then we had some good transitions out of Josh Conant and Parker Blessing that got us the ball to our offense," the coach said. "They finished for us."
Pixley stopped 19 shots for Pittsfield, holding his own against the Colts' charge while trying to get his defense to apply more pressure.
"Our offense was trying to help out, and we had a couple of good clears to them, and that's what kept us in the game," he said. "On top, we [needed] to pressure the ball. I've learned in practice that we are very, very aggressive, and we can take it to them. We should have just won it from the start and [kept] it in our side."
Conant and Ryan Jacoby picked up two assists each for the victors, and Jacoby scored twice in the first half.
Teichert said the second-half struggles showed the Generals exactly what needs to improve before Wednesday's trip to Shrewsbury.
"Better passing and catching, moving the ball faster," he said. "Having game awareness, you know? Having good IQ; knowing what to do before the ball comes to you."
Comp 1 1 8 2 -- 12
PHS 5 4 3 3 -- 15
Pittsfield goals: Alex Teichert 7, Brenden Leary 4, Ryan Jacoby 2, Cam Giardina 1, David Charland 1. Pittsfield assists: Giardina 3, Josh Conant 2, Jacoby 2, Dante Ortega 1, Kevin Quinto 1, Leary 1. Comp goals: Brandon Pavoni 4, Nick Hebert 4, Brady Seymour 2, Griffin Imelio 1, Quinn Wesolowski 1. Comp assists: Wesolowski 2, Seymour 2, Pavoni 1, Imelio 1, Hebert 1.
Saves: C -- Jeff Barthelette 10. P -- Nikolai Pixley 19.